Ian Laperriere

Ian Laperriere takes home Masterton Trophy after missing entire season with concussion issues

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The Masterton Trophy is one that’s earned through persevering through hardship and setting an example for those on and off the ice. Making the specification between on and off the ice is needed this year since the 2011 Masterton Trophy winner didn’t play in a single game this season. Ian Laperriere missed the entire 2010-2011 season after dealing with the after effects of the concussion and eye injury he suffered in the playoffs last season when he took a puck in the eye as he blocked a shot.

The shot nearly cost Laperriere his sight in the eye and gave him a concussion thanks to the force of the shot. The blow convinced Laperriere that wearing a visor was the right move for his well being and perhaps against his own better judgment he returned later in the playoffs as the Flyers eventually lost to Chicago in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals.

Laperriere beat out Anaheim goalie and former Flyers teammate Ray Emery as well as Calgary’s Daymond Langkow for the award. Emery returned to action this season after overcoming a degenerative hip condition which doctors used a radical surgery to help him overcome and return to the NHL. Langkow missed nearly the entire season before returning to play after suffering from a neck injury when he took a slap shot off the stick of then teammate Ian White last season. The fact that both of them came back to play after such horrible injuries is beyond inspiring.

That Laperriere took home the award this season is a bit of a surprise given that he didn’t play a game, but his insistence that he’s going to stay in hockey be it on the ice or off it helped win over voters. Laperriere stressed that dedication to the game after tonight’s ceremonies.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to leave, to tell you the truth. Maybe it will, I don’t know. Maybe when I’m 45 and can’t get out of bed, but I don’t know,” Laperriere said. “I’m born and raised in Montreal and hockey is my life. If I do come back it’s going to be great but if I don’t I’m still going to be involved in the game because that’s all I know, and that’s what I’m passionate about.”

“It’s one thing to be passionate about and it’s great if you can find that and I found something, 32 years of it and I won’t lose it that easy,” he concluded.

Some may argue about Laperriere winning the award, especially among other highly qualified finalists, but if nothing else his words proved exactly why he’s this year’s Masterton winner.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
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Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champions this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, three off his college career high set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, bumping the number of players from that program’s junior class to turn up to four since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, a 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

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Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

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The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.

 

Video: Roussel opens the scoring for Dallas and Elliott wasn’t happy about it

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The Dallas Stars grabbed the all-important first goal in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. And it was agitating forward Antoine Roussel who capitalized in the second period.

Roussel buried a rebound at the end of a pretty passing play from the Stars. Blues goalie Brian Elliott was furious, as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester slid into the crease in an attempt to block the shot.